- Step 1: Understand the fundamentals of net zero target
- Step 2: Shape short and long-term targets to define your net zero commitment
- Step 3: Turn your targets into action
- Learn more
7 attributes for targets of high credibility
Table: Reference table of 7 attributes for targets of high credibility
1. FRONT LOADED EMISSION REDUCTIONS IN A 1.5 ALIGNED PATHWAY
Speed is crucial – we need to combine long-term net zero commitments with immediate action and short-term interim targets. Front loading emission reductions is important for increasing the likelihood of the less than 1.5°C scenario, and providing options for the future adjustments
2. A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO EMISSION REDUCTIONS
We must tackle all emissions, including in the most difficult sectors.
A critical facet of net zero is the comprehensive emissions abatement that it implies. Under partial emissions targets, it was possible to subsume difficult emissions sources under the residual emissions that would remain, but net zero removes this option
3. CAUTIOUS USE OF CARBON DIOXIDE REMOVAL AND STORAGE
We need both emissions reductions and regulated carbon dioxide removal. Producing carbon dioxide from fossil sources has a permanent impact which must be balanced by removal and equally permanent storage for a lasting net zero strategy.
There is a strong case for a net zero carbon balance that combines a very low level of residual emissions with low levels of multi-decadal removals.
Learn more about carbon removal options in the Remove chapter
4. EFFECTIVE REGULATION OF CARBON OFFSETS
We need rigorous quality standards to ensure the environmental integrity of carbon offsets.
The need for social and environmental integrity in carbon dioxide removal is linked to the integrity, and appropriate regulation, of carbon offsets. Past experience implies the environmental integrity of carbon offsets will be problematic, unless quality standards are upgraded and scrupulously enforced.
Learn more about carbon offset in the Enhance chapter
5. AN EQUITABLE TRANSITION TO NET ZERO
The burden of meeting net zero must be shared fairly. Some countries may need to reach net zero faster than others; developing countries will need support.
Fairness is an essential aspect of climate action and depends on how the burden of meeting the global target is shared across countries and within countries
6. ALIGNMENT WITH BROADER SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL OBJECTIVES
Net zero plans should be aligned with complementary sustainability objectives, otherwise there can be unintended consequences (e.g., negative impacts on biodiversity and indigenous people).
Climate change should be assessed as one of several pressing socio-ecological challenges, most of them interlinked. For example, land-use change is both the biggest driver of biodiversity declines (accounting for approximately 30% of declines in global terrestrial habitat integrity) and the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (accounting for 23%)
7. PURSUIT OF NEW ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES
Net zero prosperity may materialize, for example, through a virtuous cycle of clean investment, renewal and growth. To ensure this transition is fair, we need cross-sector collaboration, generous social protection and investment in education and skills.
It is increasingly becoming clear that net zero can also be an economic opportunity, and net zero frameworks should pursue the opportunity in a way that promotes fairness and encourages broader societal action